Panamagate gets Sharif out of power in Pak

Steps down as PM after Supreme Court disqualifies him Oppn sees end of 'Godfather's rule', just a beginning, says Imran
Report by: 
Agencies
Islamabad
28 Jul 2017

Nawaz Sharif today resigned as Pakistan Prime Minister after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office and ruled that graft cases be filed against the beleaguered leader and his children over the Panama Papers scandal.

It is the third time the 67-year-old veteran politician's term as Prime Minister has been cut short. The much-awaited verdict plunged Pakistan into a political crisis at a time when the country is facing a brittle economy and a surge in militancy. As the unanimous verdict by the five-judge bench was read out by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan inside the packed courtroom 1 of the Supreme Court, a large number of Opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers celebrated outside. The court disqualified Sharif under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution. The articles state that a Member of Parliament should be "truthful" and "righteous".

"He is disqualified as a member of the parliament so he has ceased to be holding the office of Prime Minister," Justice Khan said. The court ordered the Election Commission to issue a notification for Sharif's disqualification. Following the court verdict, state-run PTV reported that Sharif had quit. It also reported that the government has accepted the verdict despite having serious reservations over it. The Supreme Court also ordered the National Accountability Court to start a corruption case against Sharif, his children -- Hussain and Hassan -- and his daughter Maryam. The Supreme Court ordered that the cases against them be registered within six weeks and trial be completed within six months. Finance minister Ishaq Dar and Captain Muhammad Safdar, who is an Member of National Assembly (MNA), also stood disqualified from office, Radio Pakistan reported.

Pakistan's Opposition Tehreek-e- Insaf party today welcomed the Supreme Court's unanimous decision to disqualify Sharif, describing it an end to "godfather's rule". The top court had taken up the case in October last year on petitions filed by Imran's party, Awami Muslim League and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).
"Godfather's rule has ended for good! Truth & Justice have prevailed," the party tweeted. "Godfather's ally, the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has been disqualified in Panamagate Case!," it added."It is just a beginning," Imran Khan, Pakistan's Opposition leader and a petitioner in the high-profile Panama case, today said as he hailed the Supreme Court's decision to disqualify Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

"What the Joint Investigation Team did in 60 days could not have been done even in the West," the cricketer-turned- politician said. "With this investigation, it is quite clear that we have the capability to put a check on corruption. The Supreme Court has proven that today," Khan said.